May I propose that the BBC iplayer (and similar offerings from other channels) is the greatest invention since sliced bread? That holiday (I’m still uploading pictures – so be patient) was not well-timed, given my liking of literary adaptations. With my DVD-recorder broken, it was iplayer to the rescue.
Small Island – Andrea Levy
Auntie, this was a brave choice – we’re talking about a book that was so moving and compelling that, with 200 pages to go, I decided I was going to read to the end ….. and forgot about the rock concert I was supposed to be attending that night! Even when I did remember – 24 hours later – I didn’t regret it. No wonder, Small Island made my books of the decade. So, it was with a critical eye that I approached the TV drama ….
At the end of part one, I was not enamoured. Bernard was good. While Hortense was pitch-perfect, Queenie was not. I expected her to be more ebullient and Gilbert lost a lot of his comic effects. Which reader can forget the supreme comedy of the potty (or chamber-pot as Hortense would properly say) moment? There was no opportunity to revel in the comedy. The moment was over in the blink of an eye.
Time to give myself a good talking to. How could I expect to be crying with laughter? It’s a different medium – at least the incident was retained. And that was a strength of this adaptation. It was true to the book.
Let’s go into part two feeling positive, even though not convinced by all those overdubbed monologues. While they may have irritated in part one, there was so much history that had to be covered to ensure narrative cohesion, I understood why they had been included. And Queenie was magnificent! We got to see her in her element – vivacious and in love – and thoroughly understood her transformation to done-trodden and defeated. Heavens, I’m welling up as I type that sentence. Imagine the sobbing wreck I was at the end of part two. And that was the crucial factor – I doubted the TV adaptation would have the same effect on me as the book. But it did and thus I declare it a success!
Small Island (Novel)
Small Island (BBC 2009 Adaptation)
The Day of the Triffids
I understand that Wyndham purists are up in arms about the most recent adaptation of a science fiction classic. It’s so long since I read the book that I no longer remember why triffids were cultivated nor can I identify the other changes that were made to bring the story up-to-date. All I can say is that this adaptation transformed what would otherwise have been a miserable afternoon’s ironing into a highly entertaining one even if, I would have preferred Eddie Izzard to have been more menacing as Torrence – loved his back-history, by the way. And the Triffids were menacing only in close-up. The long range shots of them in movement weren’t convincing. I’m afraid I’ve been ruined forever by Peter Jackson’s ents.
Day of the Triffids (BBC 2009 Adaptation)
The Turn of the Screw / Wallander
I’ve downloaded but have yet to watch these. I’m waiting for my next mammoth ironing session. The only thing that is going to surprise you is how long I can procrastinate on that particular activity. Tell me, do iplayer programs expire once downloaded?